Lok Sabha polls | DMK sitting pretty in Kancheepuram where civic issues remain

The Kancheepuram Lok Sabha constituency comprising six Assembly segments is known for farming, tourism, industries, information technology, silk trade, and temple tourism

April 02, 2024 01:37 am | Updated 01:44 pm IST

Interior view of the Perarignar Anna Handloom Silk Park in Kancheepuram district

Interior view of the Perarignar Anna Handloom Silk Park in Kancheepuram district | Photo Credit: M. Vedhan

The Kancheepuram Lok Sabha constituency comprising of six Assembly segments of Chengalpattu, Thiruporur, Cheyyur, Maduranthakam, Uthiramerur, and Kancheepuram, is known for farming, tourism, industries, information technology, silk trade, and temple tourism. The reserved constituency, which was formed in 2008 (previously Chengalpattu), borders Chennai city and has the reputation of replicating the choice of the city’s voters.

The most important issue being faced by the residents of Kancheepuram is the absence of dependable suburban train services and the expansion of the railway tracks.

Though the Southern Railway is developing the Chengalpattu railway station, under the Amrit Bharat station scheme, thousands of commuters and traders who visit Chennai city via Chengalpattu and Tambaram are inconvenienced services from Chengalpattu to Kancheepuram are restricted to a single track.

J. Ranganathan of the Chennai-Kancheepuram Rail passengers association says that despite writing several petitions, even to the Railway Board Chairman, no steps have been taken for doubling the railway tracks. While Wallajabad and Maraimalai Nagar are industrialised zones and have become key revenue earners for the railways through freight traffic, Kancheepuram also has a freight yard for transporting various agricultural products, and the doubling and linking of tracks to Arakkonam would definitely help in providing economic train transport for thousands of workers in the Oragadam and Maraimalai Nagar industrial zones.

The Kancheepuram constituency, including Chengalpattu, was once known for farming with vast tracts of agricultural lands irrigated by Palar river and Maduranthakam tank. However, industrialisation and boom in real estate led to numerous industrial parks and multi-storey apartments replacing farming activities. Though this has helped in creating employment opportunities, the residents of Chengalpattu, Maduranthakam, Cheyyur and Thiruporur, are woefully short of water for farming activities.

T. Bhaskaran, a farmer in Maduranthakam, said Kancheepuram and Chengalpattu had many water bodies, but the absence of check dams across the Palar hampered farming. He, however, welcomed the recent desilting of Maduranthakam tank after several years.

The farmers in Kancheepuram also appreciated the State government for opening Direct Purchase Centres (DPCs) for procuring paddy and rice helping in increasing the revenue of the farmers.

Kancheepuram town, known for spiritual tourism because of the presence of several ancient temples, has also earned a reputation for the silk sarees it produces, especially the hand-woven variety. The establishing of Perarignar Anna Handloom Silk Park has given a boost to silk saree production, for which the DMK government takes credit.

It is, however, said that the silk park, which uses mechanised looms, has marginally brought down the business of the handweavers.

Residents of Mamallapuram, who mostly depend on tourism for livelihood, allege that poor civic infrastructure, such as lack of public toilets and inadequate transport facilities, impact their businesses that are seasonal.

G. Selvam has been renominated by the ruling the DMK, and is pitted against E. Rajasekar of the AIADMK, and the PMK’s V. Jothi, who are outsiders. Mr. Selvam has maintained a low-profile, but has executed several civic infrastructure works, including construction of school buildings, bus shelters, and commissioning of several high mast lights through the Member of Parliament local area development (MPLAD) funds. However, the voters are also aggrieved that Mr. Selvam had not been accessible much, and had not organised grievance meetings to solve all their problems.

Mr. Selvam, who first contested in the Kancheepuram constituency in 2014, was defeated by AIADMK’s K. Maragatham by a margin of 1.46 lakh but avenged his defeat to K. Maragatham by winning the constituency in the 2019 Lok Sabha election by a margin of more than 2.80 lakh votes.

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